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Tongue piercing 101: What to expect, proper aftercare and what not to do

Tongue Piercing jewelry

Tongue piercings are one of the most requested body piercings, they are sexy, discrete and super metal. The cool thing about this type of piercing is that it looks great on everyone and can fit any style. It doesn't matter who you are! With that being said, let's get into some basics that will make your piercing experience a hell of a lot easier.

Types of Tongue Piercings

Midline Tongue Piercing

The most common type of tongue piercing is called a midline tongue piercing in which the needle goes through the center of the tongue vertically. This is the safest placement on the tongue and will not cause complications if done correctly and properly taken care of.

Venom Piercing

Venom tongue piercings are created by two vertical barbells that are pierced horizontally on each side of the tongue mirroring each other. This type of piercing can be safe if your tongue is a good candidate for it. When you arrive for your appointment your piercer will carefully examine your tongue to make sure that you will not have any complications if you get this piercing.

There are more adventurous types of tongue piercings that exist such as a Frenulum piercing and Snake eye piercings. These piercings are achieved by piercing the tongue horizontally. One of the main issues with horizontal tongue piercings is that they are not safe placements on the tongue. The tongue is made up of two separate muscles that are held together by tissue, when you pierce horizontally you are going through both muscles and fusing them together with a barbell. This can cause complications such as keloids around the jewelry, chipped teeth, gum recession and a lisp. These unique placements may look really cool but the longevity of these types of piercings and risk factors do not make them a good choice.

Whatever vibe or look you are going for, always consult your piercer. They will be able to help you to figure out placement and type of tongue piercing that best fits your lifestyle. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you have any reservations or concerns, that is what they are there for!

Pain Level

Pain is one of the first things that probably crosses your mind when you think about getting a new piercing, don't worry we aren't judging. Tongue piercings, thankfully are through connective tissue which makes the pain level of this piercing relatively low. Yes, you are getting punctured with a very sharp needle, some pain or discomfort may occur. Keep in mind everyone's pain threshold is different! Piercings are a quick and efficient process, trust your body and know you can get through it.


Tongue piercings take about 6-8 weeks to completely heal if there are no complications. The first three days after your piercing will be when you experience the most swelling, some slurred speech and soreness. All of these things are normal within this time period and should begin to resolve by day three. During the following weeks you will experience some lingering swelling and soreness but should completely resolve by week three. If you have any issues during this healing process or have extreme discomfort, please, contact your piercer.

young woman doing tonque piercing at beauty studio


The most important part of keeping your tongue piercing in good shape during healing time is keeping that pie hole of yours nice and clean. Our mouths can be dirty places, we eat, drink and do a few extracurriculars with them after all. Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Brush those pearly whites. You should be doing this anyway, but make sure to gently brush your teeth everyday to keep a clean environment for your piercing.

2. After brushing your teeth or having a meal, rinse your mouth with antiseptic alcohol free mouthwash. The goal is to do this 3-5 times per day. Keep mouthwash in your bag during this time so you are never without it. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have your mouthrinse with you, rinse your mouth with cool water to make sure there is no remaining food or residue in your mouth.

3. This isn’t any fun but refrain from kissing, oral sex or anything that will potentially strain your tongue.

4. You will be in a world of discomfort if you indulge in spicy, sticky or acidic food during healing time. Opt for cooling foods such as smoothies and yogurts. If you are craving something warm go for some broth or soup that requires minimal chewing.

5. Avoid soda and alcohol for the first few days to not irritate or cause discomfort to your piercing. Stick to water, it's good for you and your immune system!

6. Avoid smoking if possible.

7. Keep things out of your mouth. Avoid chewing gum, chewing tobacco or dip, chewing on your nails or sticking things in your mouth that could harbor bacteria. Keep it clean, folks!

8. If you notice any signs of infection such as excessive swelling, pus, bleeding or discoloration contact your piercer ASAP.

9. DO NOT remove your jewelry, twist or touch your tongue piercing. Let it heal! If you remove your jewelry before it is healed, it will close up and you will need to have it repierced. Don’t do it!

Feel more comfortable? You have all the knowledge you need to confidently go get that tongue piercing you’ve always wanted. Remember to have an idea of what you want, go somewhere you trust and most of all keep your damn mouth clean. If you are looking for somewhere to get your piercing done and you live in the Austin area, check out Platinum Ink! They have the best piercers in the Austin area, they have even pierced Megan Fox!

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Disclaimer: All content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult with your individual piercer or a doctor for your specific questions or needs.

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